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Decide Your Decade- The Choice is Yours

New Years are tough enough, but a whole decade. How could you possibly decide what you want, not just for the next 12 months, but the next 10 years. Where do you start? Well, the majority of people go for the most common resolution – being healthier. Eating better/starting a diet or exercising more/joining a gym. It’s a great idea and can change your life – but only if you’re committed. And unfortunately, most aren’t.

‘The Independent’ recently posted about ‘Quit Day’ (the second Friday in January) being the day that most people give up on their New Year resolutions. However, with those who want to exercise more, this isn’t as prevalent amongst those who have established a relationship with a Personal Trainer. And I think there’s a pretty simple explanation behind that. You’re less likely to give up on yourself when you’ve got someone else invested in the result. Lending their knowledge and expertise, reassuring you when you’re unsure and pushing you when you’re giving excuses for not putting in the effort you should be. They’re committed to helping you, and because of that, you don’t want to let them down. It’s tried and tested, and these types of dynamics are responsible for some really impressive transformations. It’s a recipe for achieving pre-set goals, and ultimately, getting what you want.

So back to the mother of all questions – what do you actually want?

Here’s something that might help you get started: in PenLife, each employee meets with their direct report every 3 months and discusses their current position, strengths and weaknesses, any training needs, and finally, something called ‘The Airport Test’. It might sound simple, but it’s surprisingly effective. It opens your mind and engages your imagination:

Step 1 – imagine you’re in an airport going on holiday

Step 2 – you bump into a friend or colleague you haven’t seen in 5 or so years

Step 3 – they’re pleased to see you and ask ‘so what’s new with you?’

Step 4 – think about what you would like to be able to say to them


  • We paid off our mortgage, retired, sold the house, moved out of York and now live in France
  • I downsized, quit my job and started a dog-walking business where I’m making money to get paid for something I love that’s almost stress-free
  • We figured out how much we could really afford, so used parts of our pensions to help the kids get on the property ladder, we’re still really enjoying our jobs and we’re using some of the extra cash to have proper holidays like this!

Your initial ideas will feel like a pipe dream – something completely unattainable. But what if they’re not?

As Financial Advisers, we have proven SO many people wrong and helped them reimagine their lives. They’ve come to us with a simple, short-term goal, like transferring a pension, investing into a well-researched model portfolio or outlining an Inheritance Tax plan (which we still help them do). Just with a bit more direction. We find out what it is you’re really working towards.

WHY do you want to transfer your pension?

WHY do you want to be invested in a decent portfolio?

WHY don’t you want to pay unnecessary IHT?

It’s rarely anything to do with the products themselves. It’s about the end result:

  • Your pension didn’t offer flexi-access drawdown so you wouldn’t able to take 25% Tax Free Cash to pay off your mortgage when you plan to.
  • Your funds weren’t performing well enough to allow you to retire when you imagined you would.
  • If you’re paying excessive amounts of IHT, your children won’t be able to use the inheritance money to support their lifestyles as you’d want them to.

Money is a tool you can use to get you where you want to be, not the destination itself.

We always consider the end result, even when you aren’t. And once we’ve found out what it is you’re seeking in your life, we work backwards. Using your existing assets, any potential future earnings and our experts’ skills to get you there. It doesn’t happen overnight and you have to commit to your goals if you’re serious about achieving them. We’ll act as your Financial Personal Trainer, keeping you focused and accountable. But it all has to start with you. You need to make your own decision.

And when it’s so easy to ignore or postpone, we understand why people lose interest. Life takes over and you’re pre-occupied with spinning plates to even think about adding another. But it’s a catch 22. You’re too busy doing the things you don’t want to be doing, to take the steps necessary to help you stop having to do the things you don’t want to be doing… and the cycle continues.

It can be overwhelming when you try to take on everything at once and you probably end up doing nothing. But if you prioritise your goals – quick wins, most impactful, etc., you can begin tackling them one step at a time. Work, home environment, holidays, experiences, lifestyle. Each can be improved through tailored Financial Planning. Career changes, extensions, moves, travelling, bucket lists, everyday living. It all starts with a solid foundation and security. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, everything gets better, you gain momentum.

More financial security means more freedom. More freedom means more time. More time means more opportunity to enjoy life.

Let’s face it – most people survive without us.  I mean, they certainly don’t get the most out of their money – missing tax allowances, investing in the wrong places and paying additional tax they don’t need to… but they get by. Our clients don’t want to ‘get by’ and they don’t want to settle. They aren’t complacent. Our clients made the decision to take control of their future and make a change to their lifestyle, starting at the root cause. Money.

Think about where you thought you’d be in 2020, or maybe, you didn’t really think about it at all. Now think about where you want to be in 2030. What you want to have seen, experienced, achieved. That’s the hardest part, because no one else can help you get there. You have to do that bit on your own. But once you’ve found it and you’ve got some clear life goals. That’s when you need someone to guide you. And now that you know where you can find that person, it’s all up to you.